Transnational Influence

New world poets accredit so much to the influence of Walt Whitman’s spirit and inspirational poetry. For many poets from many nations, Walt represented opportunity for people whose voices were once muted under tyrannical scrutiny. Whitman, “the real American singer” had a voice and purpose behind his words. He bridged the gap between struggles in America and the problems that the oppressed and outnumbered faced everyday abroad. This idea of “new world” poetry was the breaking away from the traditional poetry style practiced in Europe, and the content was challenging the establishment by those that the establishment wished to hold down. Morality and the makeup of the social experience had become open for discussion. “In America the father is white” according to June Jordan. The white man came over from Europe, pushed people around, claimed what wasn’t his, established government and forced those who couldn’t defend themselves to serve them for no wages. Whitman had the appearance of such a man, but spoke for the black man, the brown man, and the woman. He wanted his “America” to step away from Aristocratic European standard, and have more unity instead of the few having power and the masses suffering because of it. The new world poets believed that Whitman opened so many doors for “anyone” who wished to be heard, not only those “white men” who were in control. In Rudolfo Anaya’s “Walt Whitman Strides the Llano of New Mexico”, he gives contemporary recognition for the impact Walt had on Anaya and Mexican Americans in general. Anaya expresses Whitman’s vast influence when he said:

I kept the faith, don Walt, because I always knew
You could leap continents! Leap over the squalor!
Leap over the pain and suffering, and the ash heap we
Make our Earth! Leap into my arms.

New world poetry was poetry of a hopeful future as well as the present, and people walked through the doors that Walt opened. Ezequiel Martinez Estrada in his poem “Walt Whitman” refers to Walt Whitman and, “the agonizing fear of losing you again.” The New world poets can’t lose the passion that inspired Whitman to write for not only Americans, but those who faced hardships all over the world.

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